An absolutely beautiful recording of two virtuosos. While bassist Charlie Haden may set the stage with his deep acoustic tone, the architect is the harmonic master pianist Chris Anderson. His resume includes a lengthy position as Dinah Washington's pianist and he served as Herbie Hancock's teacher. This is one of his rare recordings as a leader and, to our ears, undoubtedly his best. Recorded at the Cami Hall in New York in the summer of 1997. (Source: musicdirect.com)
A few years ago the trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas released “Be Still,” a beautifully poignant album made in response to the loss of his mother. The album also formally unveiled his new band, a young quintet with the creative resources to hit the ground running. “Brazen Heart,” Mr. Douglas’s assured new release, showcases the same group at a more advanced stage in its evolution, as he again tries to transcend grief with art.
Bruce Cockburn is Canada's version of Richard Thompson, a brilliant folk-rock guitarist who also writes smart, acerbic lyrics about the twisted ways of modern society and modern romance. Never as vicious or as funny as Thompson, Cockburn is a more restrained, less obvious talent, but rewarding just the same. Dart to the Heart, free of political abstractions and filled with personal musings on love, is his best since 1985's World of Wonders. The first single, "Listen for the Laugh," is a boisterous hornªpowered rocker that insists good-naturedly that the surest sign of love is not sighing but laughter–and very specific sort of laughter, like "a chain saw in a velvet glove." That's a good description for Cockburn's guitar work, too, for he keeps it buried behind his deep, sleepy vocals, but if you listen closely you can hear just how his picking chews up chords and sends notes flying in all directions.
Long familiar with the tropes and pitfalls of esoteric undergrounds, in both the pre- and post internet eras, The Black Dog have ventured deep into contemporary conspiratorial cultures with a trenchantly critical eye. In the 80s, conspiracy theories were a tonic for a sceptical mind, a stimulant to agile thinking. Today, they have become the stock in trade of mainstream political influence. The scene has morphed into a rabbit hole where nothing is “really” real, everything is a hoax, and everyone is out to get you.
New York-born singer Indra Rios-Moore, now living in Barcelona, releases her new album “Carry My Heart”. It comes right after her pretty successful (at least in Europe) “Heartland” album. One of the most sympathetic features of the album is the fact that Indra wanted to record an optimistic record because there was (and is) simply too much whining going on. Not that most of the current matters aren’t disheartening, but it feels good to be warmed and eased by Indra’s warm and caressing voice on covers such as “I Can See Clearly Now” or Curtis Mayfield’s “Keep On Pushin'”. Still, you can file this one under “protest” albums, too because during the writing process, a certain Drumpf took over the White House.
An early-'80s jazz-pop-R&B synthesis as durable and pleasing as any other, Straight from the Heart was Patrice Rushen's most successful album, at least from a sales standpoint: it peaked at number 14 on the pop chart, 25 slots higher than 1980's Pizzazz. Still working with a core group of associates — including Freddie Washington, Charles Mims, Paul M. Jackson, and Marlo Henderson (along with a still young Gerald Albright) — that went back to her earlier Elektra albums, the material here is as slick as ever, but not at the expense of lighter rhythms or less memorable melodies. Much of the album's popularity can be attributed to the club hit "Forget Me Nots," Rushen's most-known single — a breezy, buoyant mixture of handclaps, fingersnaps, twisting bass, and Rushen's typically blissful (and not overplayed) electric piano, not to mention the incorporation of a bad bass-and-percussion breakdown.